Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Need a Cigarette!

First of all, let me state that habitual smoking is bad for you. You're inhaling smoke. Doing that all day, every day, year after year after decade is generally not going to be good for you. My grandfather smoked for nearly 60 years, then, one day, he decided to quit. Then he got lung cancer and died. So I understand fully that smoking is bad for you and should be something you should limit, if not completely eliminate.

Having said that, however, this country, with California taking the lead as usual, is coming up with the dumbest ways to deal with smoking that the world has ever seen. Nazi smoking bans of every variety have sprung up, from public buildings, to private businesses, to apartments. Now, the latest is banning smokers from smoking outside. Apparently, if you stand downwind of a smoker, you'll breathe in some smoke. No shit. Also, if you stand around a whole bunch of smokers, it's worse. No shit. I really needed a study to tell me that.

The simple fact is that the freedom to inhale a legal substance had been systematically stolen from the smoking population. While I personally prefer restaurants and homes that are free of the odors of smoking, the idea that government can ban the use of a legal product in such an overreaching way is almost scary. And the worst part is that we do this to ourselves. Here in Ohio, the smoking nazis forced their bill in as a voter referendum. It passed, forcing businesses that were friendly to smokers to either cut out smoking or find ways to evade this law.

Even worse, the attacks on Big Tobacco continue, as though they are a source of pure EEEVIL. I'm not necessarily going to defend them for everything they've done over the years. However, they're required to label their product to warn us it is bad, forced to give money to the states for medical expenses that were accumulated by stupid people that made a choice to smoke, spend money on anti-smoking ads, and there are still idiots out there that decry them as the devil's bitch servants.

So with all the forces lining up to destroy smoking, why don't we just ban it for all time. Well, there's this little thing called tax revenue. An ever-increasing amount of the price of cigarettes comes from the various punishment taxes levied on it by the federal and state governments. Some of that money gets sucked in to cover expenses for people who have been smoking for the last 50 years that are now surprised (after a couple of decades of warnings) that they got the cancer. No shit. At this point, all lawsuits concerning smoking-related illnesses should be thrown out along with the idiot who refused to change their behavior, and the lawyer bringing this waste of our time should be tazed by the court, just for laughs. Also, some of that money goes for subsidies to support tobacco growers. I'm not a fan of the government subsidizing anything. This, however, is the ultimate stupidity, considering how much we spend overall to stop people from smoking with the taxes they pay when buying their cigarettes.

Tomorrow is the Great American Smokeout. Somebody pass me a cigarette. Even better, I'll just go buy a pack. Or even better, I'll get me a fat cigar and surround myself in fragrant clouds of excellent smoke, then wait to see what the government wants to take away from me next.

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